Six new trustees named to University's board

Release Date: 12/22/2016

Six new members have been selected to join the University of the Ozarks' Board of Trustees. The nominations were approved during the board's annual fall meeting on Oct. 8.

Joining the board in the Class of 2019 will be Sylvester Benson of Manhattan, Kan.; Doug Black of Hot Springs, Ark.; Armil "A.O." Curran, Jr., of Clarksville; Peter Van Dyke of Munster, Ind.; Ann Patterson of Little Rock, Ark.; and Dr. James "Ed" Wilkinson of Greenwood, Ark.

The new members will begin their three-year terms on Jan. 1, 2017.

Sylvester Benson Benson, a 1967 graduate of Ozarks, is a retired high school principal and educator who spent 31 years as a teacher and administrator in Kansas. He previously served two terms on the board and has been an active member of the University's Alumni Association. A former basketball player at Ozarks who broke the color barrier in the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference in 1963, Benson was elected to the Ozarks Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. He and his wife, Pat, also an Ozarks graduate, have two sons and a daughter.
Doug Black Black, who previously served on the board from 2010-2015, has more than 40 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. A graduate of Southern Arkansas University, Black has served in executive capacities for Wagner Oil Company in Fort Worth, Texas, Blackstone Mineral Company in Houston, and Samson Energy in Tulsa, Okla. He is a certified professional landman and served as chair of the U of O Board of Trustees in 2013 and 2014. He and his wife, Marty, reside in Hot Springs.
Armil "A.O." Curran, Jr. Curran is the owner of Curran's Abstract, a title company in Clarksville. A retired U.S. Navy veteran, Curran is a member of the Clarksville Regional Economic Development Organization and the Clarksville Rotary. His later father, Armil Curran, Sr., was a former member of the Arkansas House of Representatives. Curran and his wife, Pat, reside in Clarksville.
Peter Van Dyke Van Dyke is the senior litigation claim counsel and director for CNA Insurance Company in Chicago, Ill. A 1987 graduate of Ozarks, Van Dyke went on to earn his juris doctorate from Notre Dame Law School in 1990. A former basketball player at Ozarks, Van Dyke and his teammates from the 1983-84 basketball team were inducted into the Ozarks Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.  Van Dyke has served on the board of trustees for First Presbyterian Church in Elkhart, Ind., and on the Session for Westminster Presbyterian Church in Munster. He and his wife, Heleine, reside in Munster.
Ann Patterson Patterson, a 1975 Ozarks graduate, is a program director for the Parents for Inclusive Communities Program for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). She is the former interim director for the Division of Mental Health Services for the Arkansas Department of Human Services and has served as executive director or board member for a number of non-profit human services organizations. Patterson, who earned a master's degree in health services administration from UALR, has served for many years on the U of O Alumni Association Board of Directors. Her father, J.T. Patterson, was the long-time business manager for the University. She and her husband, Max Snowden, reside in Little Rock, and have a son.
Dr.  James "Ed" Wilkinson Wilkinson has been an executive officer and board member of Farmers Bank since 1983. He was elected president of the bank in 1994 and has also served as chief executive officer of Wilkinson Banking Corp., the holding company of Farmers Bank. Wilkinson has both an undergraduate degree and an MBA from the University of Arkansas and a Doctor of Business Administration from Walden University, College of Management and Technology. A U.S. Navy veteran, Wilkinson served for 16 years in the Arkansas legislature, including eight years as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and two years as chairman of the House Banking Committee. He and his wife, LaDonna, have one son.

In addition, three trustees were re-elected to a second three-year term: Chris Allen of Clarksville, Dr. Jim Bruning of Fort Smith, and David Rawhouser of Arlington, Texas.

Also during the board meeting, Sue Tull of Little Rock was elected as the new chair for the board, beginning on Jan. 1. Other officers selected include Bruning as chair-elect and Allen as board secretary.

The Rev. Bill Rail of Rogers, Ark., was also chosen as a lifetime member of the board.